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The Night Before making of

Once again, in collaboration with Bionic Primitive this amazing yet challenging 360 Samsung VR experience was created.

I was responsible for developing two effects the Aurora Borealis in the north pole scene and the fireworks in the New York scene. It’s my first time creating a 360 content, thanks to vray for making that an easy task although it went through a couple of trial and error phases until you wrap your head around it and that involved uploading it to Samsung VR to try it out for every test. Okay now let’s dig inside each of those effects to see how I managed to get to the final look and bear in mind that I was only responsible for delivering the fx element not the final comp, and everything was created inside 3ds max.

1- The Aurora Borealis effect:

The first thing that occurred to us was to create it using some fumefx sims we needed sth volumetric since we are going to pass through them but three major points challenged us here one is the shading part, second the gigantic data that will be generated we are talking about sth that will cover the hole sky and it’s going to be rendered at a 4K res putting in mind the always tight deadline, and third challenge was how to animate that fume cloud in an aurora way so I had to fake it out using an alternative method which involved using some complex multi-layer shading and multi-channel UVs putting in mind also opacity based on camera distance. Two passes were exported the Aurora and the sparkle pass where I had to crank up the samples inside of vray for it not to flicker.

Here are some insider pics from the scene file, do you see that little tiny house on the left….

2- The Fireworks effect:

Not sth original to recreate but what made it challenging was the client request of matching the fireworks explosion timing and place to the actors’ reactions and face direction and I don’t have to remind you that it’s a 360 and in 3dsmax view won’t give that luxury so you have to match it a close as possible based on the camera movement provided to you and do some render and vr tests. I have to admit this one was the more difficult compared to the Aurora.

There was three passes, the general fireworks which will blow away from the wagon, the key fireworks which are timed to the actors reactions and last a separate isolated fireworks and here I have to mention that I created several explosion looks.

And there the happy moment when the client called asking for the smoke, “Holly crap” I said, I’m not gonna use fumefx on all those over 60 explosions covering the cost of New York, so again I faked it using some noise and opacity. And that’s the time when you will be happy having worked in the game industry ;)

And before I forget the setup was created in PFlow I wished I used Cebas TP instead it would’ve gave me more control and more variation but there was no time to recreate everything.

Setting up a 360 camera in vray is pretty straight forward, the original camera (your camera) will provide looking direction and rotation and vray will override the camera vertical and horizontal field of view setting it to 360w by 180h and as you can see it’s a 2:1 ratio so your output should have the same ratio.

Here are the links to the experience:

Kindest Regards

Alaa Al Nahlawi

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